The Social Security Administration provides four types of Social Security benefits: retirement, disability, dependents, and survivor benefits. Survivor benefits are available to the children and spouses of deceased individuals who qualify.
If you qualify for retirement or disability benefits, your spouse and children have the right to obtain survivor benefits when you pass away. You also have a right to receive survivor benefits upon your spouse’s death if your spouse is qualified for Social Security benefits.
Requirements for Survivor Benefits
For your spouse and children to get survivor benefits upon your death, you and your family must meet specific requirements:
Other Family Members May Be Eligible
Stepchildren, grandchildren, adopted children, and dependent parents may be entitled to survivor benefits.
Can Same-Sex Spouses Receive Survivor Benefits?
Yes. In Obergefell v. Hodges, the United States Supreme Court held that the Constitution gives people the right to marry regardless of sex. Following Obergefell, the Social Security Administration allowed married same-sex spouses to get survivor benefits.
Can Spouses of Self-Employed Individuals Obtain Survivor Benefits?
Yes. Self-employed people can contribute to Social Security and become qualified for benefits. If your spouse was self-employed, you might be able to receive survivor benefits.
Can Surviving Divorced Spouses Get Survivor Benefits?
In certain cases, yes. If your marriage lasted 10 years or more, you could acquire survivor benefits on your ex-spouse’s work record.
Learn more about Survivor Benefits on the Social Security Administration’s website.